On the Marshes
by Carol Donaldson

Carol Donaldson’s debut: an extraordinary exploration into the waterlands of the north Kent marshes through a series of walks, which is also an examination of the landscapes, wildlife and people who choose to make their home in these liminal lands.

“…Donaldson makes a delightful and refreshingly unconventional guide.” Ben Hoare, BBC Wildlife Magazine, Book of the Month

“…a sense of place dear to the author’s heart is lovingly evoked.” George Sawtell, Caught by the River

“Carol Donaldson should be applauded for standing up for wildness on the edge of the metropolis. ” Ben Eagle, New Nature

Author: Carol Donaldson

Hardback, £15, out now.

SKU: 9781908213501 Categories: , , , Tag:


In stock (can be backordered)

What would happen if you decided to live simply within your means in a caravan or a cabin in the woods?

It’s a question for our times. When Carol Donaldson walked across the marshlands of north Kent, travelling from Gravesend to Whitstable, she was still coming to terms with being evicted from her home and the break-up of a long-term relationship. Before then she had chosen a simple existence, living in a caravan underneath a willow tree while she worked on a RSPB nature reserve surveying wetland wildlife. Despite the frozen pipes and electricity that blew out in every storm, it was a way of life she came to love.

What begins as a walk away from her troubled past becomes a journey of self-discovery, a pilgrimage in search of people who have chosen to live on the edge of England in this lonely, beautiful waterland. She meets plot-holders, houseboat owners and cabin dwellers who are all drawn to the watery margins by an urge to escape the expectations, comforts and costs of twenty-first-century life.

On The Marshes brings us an original voice that weaves Donaldson’s personal story of alienation and yearning with others who have made the north Kent marshes their home. She explores the conflicts between marsh-dwellers and corporate Britain, between private ownership and conservation, exploring the different ways we choose to live on this tribally divided island.

Available April 2017

ISBN: 978-1-908213-50-1


See the short trailer for On the Marshes, made by Luke Gardner:


Additional information

Weight500 g
Dimensions150 x 22 x 210 mm


  1. John Rolfe

    This book does exactly what its says it will do on the cover . It records the authors experiences while walking the North Kent Waterlands of the Isles of Grain and Sheppey along with stretches of the Medway estuary. At the same time she is sorting out her personal life and career.
    The characters encountered are engaging and very different. Their common purpose is the preservation of the spirit of the area and the native wildlife. None of them are exactly rich but they enjoy the rewards the area confers.
    Because the book it is neither a history, natural history or travel guide at times it confuses. Reading of Queen Victoria coming on the train from Windsor to spend time on her yacht at Grain creates an image of Victoria sharing in the joys messing about in boats up a muddy creak. in fact it was the Royal Yacht moored at Port Victoria., a point of departure the Queen preferred because its remoteness meant that she was would ‘not be met by vast screaming crowds’ of her subjects.
    Am I pleased that I read Carol’ s book? yes. Now I have read it will I want to keep it? No. Do I recommend it? Yes, if the reader wants to share Carol’s very personal journeys through her life and a part of Kent which has its own unique attractions.

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